Tagged: Parent

Things Only Parents Should Have to Hear: “I have to wear pants?”

What pants?

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AD/HD Son Telling AD/HD Mom a Knock-Knock Joke

AD/HD son telling AD/HD Mom a knock-knock joke:

AD/HD Son: Knock knock

AD/HD Mom: Who’s there?

AD/HD Son: Winnie

AD/HD Mom: Winnie who?

AD/HD Son: Winnie the Pooh

AD/HD Mom: Winnie the Pooh who?

AD/HD Son: Huh?

AD/HD Mom: What?

AD/HD Son: I’m so confused!

AD/HD Mom: Me too! 

Yes. I live with this everyday. It is never boring! 🙂

Spontaneous Fun Needs to be Well Planned

I think it is maybe my male biological influences, maybe my careful and anxious nature, or perhaps a combination of both. I just have to make sure our spontaneous family adventures are well planned.

My wife and I are not eager to screw up our sleep schedules. Once a year, in order to celebrate the required purchase of a new calendar, people stay up to “ring in the new year.” We have five children. In case you do not have experience with five children, it is exhausting. At least once a week, our one-year-old decides to cry in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, and he is not able to go back to sleep until he has been assured that we will have trouble going back to sleep ourselves. Our five-year-old loves to crash mom and dad’s slumber party whenever she can think of an excuse, so the thought of another night deprived of sleep is really not all that exciting.

Those of you without kids are going to think this is terrible, but when our oldest kids were younger, we used to lie to them and tell them at 7pm that it was time to count down to midnight. Yay! Happy New Year! Time for bed. Those of you who have or had young kids either have done this yourself, or are right now wishing you had thought of it too. The kids had a blast, and we all got a good night’s sleep.

Well, the mean age of the kids is rapidly rising, despite us adding a new one a year-and-a-half ago to try and keep the numbers down. So we have to find other ways to celebrate the beginning of the new year that are fun for the kids, but do not compromise our already encumbered sleep schedule. This year we have decided to drive up to the snow. We live in the desert, and there is not often snow here. It rained much of the day today which is a welcome change where we sorely need the water, but not exactly the chance to walk in a winter wonderland.

So the snow is not too far away, and it is a great opportunity to have a spontaneous adventure. We have a one-year-old, and my wife can leave the house without worrying about pesky things like what will happen if he needs a diaper change in the five hours she intends to be out. She is fun, and can change plans at the drop of a hat (or diaper, as the case may be.)

I am just not built that way. I have to know exactly where we are driving. I have to know that we have sufficient diapers, changes of clothes, blankets, and portable shelters, flints, and water purifiers in case the apocalypse lands while we are frolicking in the snow. I have carefully worked out a sled sharing schedule that accounts for differences of maturity, and ensures maximum fun has been scheduled for everyone. You see, if spontaneity is not carefully planned, it might end up not being fun. My wife points out that I need to let go and just learn to have fun. She got the wrong kind of soup at the store today when I sent her with a list of requisitions, but I am dealing with that. See? I am letting go.

Sandy Hook and Social Policy on Guns in Schools

Cedar eloquently discussed the application of psychology to the debate of guns in the schools in a recent post. I started to make a comment, but realized it was running awful long for a comment. The post was really about how people look at things, and how they may not be seeing clearly when they suggest that we put guns in the schools. So here it is:

As someone with training in social work, as well as psychology, one thing that really strikes me that runs parallel to this is that social policies, especially sweeping ones, almost always have unintended impacts. The very nature of personal and group bias is such that we do not usually see the unintended consequences until they happen (if we were aware of it, it really would not be bias.) Some unintended consequences, in this case, may be easy to see if we bother too look for them. For example, someone is going to have to pay for guns, training with guns, and track the use of guns. Another potential problem is this means there are guns already on campus, available for those who can get control of them. What impact on society would it have to raise all of our children to see guns roaming around the halls as normal and desirable? There will likely be accidents related to firearms in schools, because people are humans and mistakes happen. What if the accidents are higher than the number of deaths at Sandy Hook? Would that make it better that there are more kids dead and injured, but at least it was at the hands of their overzealous PE teacher instead of a lunatic? The list can go on and on.

I have a friend who has kids in a school where the parents are not allowed on campus. This allows for much tighter security. One downfall is that parents cannot interact with the teacher when they are dropping their kids off or picking them up from school. No one said, “let’s devise a way to keep parents from having relationships with their child’s teacher,” however this was the effect from “let’s have tighter security.” I am not saying there are no other solutions, or whether this security is right or wrong, but it is important to understand that every sweeping social policy always has unintended effects.

I think we see a horrible thing like this, and especially imagining what those poor little children went through in their last moments, we want to find some quick cure. The sad reality may be that we cannot prevent all tragedies completely. And sometimes the cost of prevention is not worth the risks. Every year there are numerous deaths and injuries related to pedestrians, but should we stop all people from walking out of doors as a result?

Also we have to be careful about where we put our resources. What I mean by resources, is that we always only have a finite amount of resources. To most of us, a billion dollars is a lot of money, and seems like an endless amount. When you apply a billion dollars to the entire US economy, however, it is just a drop in the bucket. So resources might seem infinite to the individual person, but when applied broadly they only go so far.

20 children died in an attack on elementary school students at Sandy Hook. In 2010, 129 people 19 and under were killed in gun accidents. 749 kids 19 and under fatally shot themselves with a gun they took from their parents. In 2011, 565 children under age 18 were murdered using a gun. When you look at the numbers, are school shootings even the place we should focus our resources? More children die at the end of their own parents guns than at the hands of a deranged killer at schools, yet no one is talking about mandatory gun safety classes for parents or some other similar legislation that would impact this much larger number of deaths and injuries.

As I understand it, there were armed guards at Columbine, that were just more deaths on the long list of tragic outcomes.

It is emotional when we see such a horrible tragedy, and it feels awful to sit on our hands and do nothing. At the same time, we also have to be aware of bias in our thinking, and move forward carefully. Including injuries, thousands of children are shot each year, and most of it happens at home. So just from a numbers perspective, why are we wanting to put all of these resources into arming our schools, when statistically, they are much more likely to be injured or killed by a gun at home?

I am not saying we do nothing, those little souls deserve our best efforts. I am saying we should tread carefully and not react emotionally.

On Being a Dad

I spent some time thinking about what to blog on Father’s Day. While I was thinking about this, I naturally wandered into the philosophical territory usually left fallow, as I thought about what it means to be a Dad. The moment that immediately sprang to mind was the birth of my daughter. When she was born, she wasn’t breathing. For me, that moment held all that being a Dad means.

The pregnancy had been normal, though the delivery had been somewhat tumultuous. My wife was too far along for an epidural, no wait she wasn’t, oh wait yes we were right, too far along. No, on second thought, we can go ahead with the epidural. It was the middle of the night. The crotchety nurse must have mistaken my request for coffee as a request for a diamond encrusted gold brick, based on the scornful disdain with which she turned down my request. Then, after all that, my daughter was finally born. And she wasn’t breathing.

You see, I had three boys already. My wife had wanted a girl, and truth be told, so did I. The apple of my eye, I could picture her older, spinning around in a sun dress and smiling kindly at her beloved Dad. We were afraid she was going to be very large, but in the end it was mostly fluid, she was actually quite small. She was perfect. And she wasn’t breathing.

I stood there, my hand linked to my wife’s. She needed support throughout the delivery, as she always did. That was my job. To provide support. I was afraid. More afraid than I can ever remember being. Half of my heart was tied up in one hand, wrapped tightly in support around my wife’s hand. She clung to me as if I could save her from the pain and suffering she was going through. My other hand longed to reach out for my daughter, laying on the table. Not breathing.

Truth be told, I was probably the most useless person in that room. A nurse moved in to intubate my daughter. The doctor was helping my wife to recover. I made a snap decision to keep the worry from my face, in order to not alarm my wife. And there it was. A defining dad moment. I felt so helpless, but my wife and daughter needed me. Needed me to be strong, to be supportive, to be compassionate, to love and to treasure. A Dad knows how to fix everything.

A more experienced nurse, the nurse who had earlier refused me coffee, stepped in and was able to get the mucus blocking my daughter’s airway free, so she could breathe. It had taken only moments, but it truly was one of those moments were time had seemed to stand still for me. My daughter sucked in, and pierced the air with the sweetest cry I think I have ever heard. Truth be told, I shed a few tears myself.

Times have changed for men. The gruff men who worked hard, and showed no emotions now line a fatherhood museum with retired horse carriages and rotary phones. Today’s Dad is sensitive, caring, involved with even his young children, and has a smile or a hug for his kids always handy. Providing for his family means so much more than it once meant. And we have no road map, us Dads of the new millennium. Our own Dads were gruff and distant, but our wives and children would not stand for that now. We have to be different , but we have few role models to look to. We are forging new territory.

Dads are the rock. The support, the guide. Dads can fix everything. The truth is that we sometimes don’t know how. We have no map, no instructions, and no one has been a guide for the journey we now find ourselves on. But we are the guide. We forge ahead, without fear for what is ahead, only fear for the family that trails behind us. Expecting us to be their all, to be their savior, to fix everything.

So as I stood there, before my daughter was breathing, holding my wife’s hand without letting the fear show, I was a Dad. As I stood there feeling helpless as my daughter lay on the table not breathing, but knowing there had to be some way for me to fix this, I was a Dad. As I stood there holding my wife’s gaze, and smiling with tears streaming down my face as my daughter filled her lungs and screamed, I was a Dad. I am a Dad.

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!